Top 9 Essential Career Books You May Have Missed in School

Posted on June 27, 2014 | Filed in Career

Look beyond school and prep for the business world with Manhattan Review’s Top 9 essential career books you may have missed in school.

Look beyond school and prep for the business world with Manhattan Review’s Top 9 essential career books you may have missed in school.

You learn a lot in school, but so does everyone else. With everyone learning the same lessons, the job pool becomes diluted, and those who stick out have a better chance of being hired. It may feel like your brain is fried and you can’t possibly fit any more info into it, but there’s no better time than now to build a solid foundation.

Entrepreneurs and executives come from all walks of life, and each of them has valuable lessons to teach us. In order to succeed in your career, you’ll need to take the initiative to do some extracurricular learning from experts who shaped the business world as we know it today. Check out these must-read books for a successful career.

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey

    Seven Habits is a timeless lesson in leadership and success. Covey studied the commonalities among successful and effective people and categorizes their choices and mindsets into a simple path anyone can follow. The process is broken down into Independence, Interdependence, and Continual Improvement, resulting in meaningful and consistent growth. Regardless of your chosen career path, Covey’s habits will separate you from your peers.

  2. Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson

    Change is inevitable, and working with these changes is an essential part of success, both in school and in the workforce. Dr. Johnson’s Cheese can help you find comfort when you’re constantly forced out of your zone. Using an allegory about mice and little people in a maze, Johnson provides the mental road map to successfully dealing with change in our fast-paced world.

  3. The Signal And The Noise by Nate Silver

    Big data is a new concept to many people, but it’s been studied by large organizations for years. As big data becomes more prominent, we all need to understand what it is and how it can be leveraged. The Signal And The Noise is your first lesson in statistics, predictions, and what it all means. Unlike accounting classes you’ll never use unless you become an accountant, this is math anyone can use.

  4. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

    Americans receive the least amount of vacation hours in the industrial world. Executives, attorneys, and other professionals would love only having to work 40 hours a week. Timothy Ferriss challenges our work ethic by providing multiple cases to prove normal “banking hours” aren’t as productive as we think. At certain points in your career, you’ll find yourself burnt out and wishing for more time in your day. Those are the times you’ll be thankful you read The 4-Hour Workweek.

  5. Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business by Michael P. DuDell and the Shark Tank cast

    On the hit ABC show Shark Tank, hopeful entrepreneurs present their business ideas to savvy investors, such as FUBU founder Damon Johns and infomercial queen Lori Grenier. The show is filled with useful business advice from millionaires and billionaires. Michael DuDell expertly gathers the most pertinent info from this show into a Business 101 lesson. If you sold your business books for extra cash, Shark Tank is a great refresher course.

  6. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

    Self-help books are an oxymoron, but The Secret avoids the pitfalls of the genre, eschewing generic advice to focus on actionable steps toward a more successful version of you. It’s no secret that Byrne’s tips lead you down a better path, using a vision board for daily self-affirmations. A college degree doesn’t always guarantee happiness or success, but adhering to The Secret gets you a lot closer.

  7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnagie

    Dale Carnagie’s classic book is every bit as relevant today as it was the day it was written. Negotiations are a cornerstone of your career, from finding employment to getting that raise or promotion you deserve. This book teaches you how to successfully steer people toward your line of thinking, whether it’s clients, customers, or employees. If you want to be successful in your career, you’ll need to be an influential thought leader. How to Win Friends and Influence People lays out the universal steps to get there.

  8. The Knowledge to Succeed by Wendy Day

    In love with hip-hop, and tired of seeing her favorite musicians being screwed, Wendy Day quit her day job to help artists leverage and negotiate contracts. She’s credited with discovering Master P, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Twista, David Banner, and many more. In The Knowledge to Succeed, Day teaches how to replicate their success or hers. Although this book focuses on the business of music, the wisdom is applicable to all business.

  9. Il Principe (The Prince) by Nicolo Machiavelli

    Nicolo Machiavelli published one of the most important works of political philosophy in human history back in 1532. In The Prince, he summarizes all the lures and trappings of the quest for power. It’s important to understand that when you graduate, you’re joining reality’s Game of Thrones. The only way to become successful is to take from someone who’s already there. Know your enemy – you may one day become him.

These books provide valuable insights into various aspects of business, leadership, entrepreneurialship and more. Spend your vacations and weekends absorbing this knowledge to stay ahead of the curve. It won’t be long before you find yourself managing your classmates as you leave the academic world and enter Corporate America.

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